Fresh cheese is any cheese that hasn’t been aged for more than a month. There are a lots of different types, everything from mozzarella to feta, and cream cheese. They are much easier to make than hard cheese, which is perfect for beginners. Homemade fresh cheese is also very affordable, as a gallon of milk will easily make a 1 lbs of cheese.
Here is an overview of the different types of fresh cheeses, along with links to recipes so you can try making cheese at home. This is part of a series of posts on cheesemaking. Check out Cheesemaking 101 for a complete list of topics.
Soft cheeses are definitely the easiest type of cheese to make because they don’t involve anything more than setting the cheese curd, then draining the whey. The avoid any of the work involved with cooking the curds or pressing cheese. Here are a few delicious soft cheeses:
- Labneh is the simplest cheese to make. It involves simply draining the whey from yogurt.
- Cream cheese is milk and cream that has been set with rennet.
- Ricotta involves curdling milk with citric acid.
- Cottage cheese is set with cultured buttermilk, then the curds are cooked to firm up and remove the lactose.
- Kefir cheese is make from curdled milk kefir.
- Chevre is made from goat milk.
Cooked cheese curds form the basis for cheddar cheese. However, cheese curds can be cheddared (dry cooked) then eaten fresh. When eaten within a day or two of being made they have a distinctly squeaky texture and are a real treat.
Cheese curds can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months. They are great for poutine or as a melting cheese for sandwiches, pizza, pasta. Best of all, they make a great snack!
Brined cheeses are pressed, then aged for a few weeks in a salty brine. They are generally cheeses that come from warmer climates, so the aging can occur at room temperature. Here are a few brined cheeses:
- Feta is a gently cooked cheese, that is generally made from goat’s milk, but can be made from cow dairy.
- Halloumi is poached in whey after pressing. It is a low-acid cheese, so it won’t melt, which makes it perfect for grilling or frying.
- Mozzarella is a high acid cheese that is stretched before brining.